OSF brings much needed breastmilk dispensary for newborns in Central Illinois

PEORIA (25 News Now) – There’s now a new option for families of newborns to find much-needed breast milk.

OSF Healthcare St. Francis has just opened the first breast milk dispensary in the area.

This option allows them to purchase up to 10 bottles in a pinch if their personal stash is running low.

Their stories are similar…

“Over time, as we struggled to find breast milk for him, we transitioned him to formula feeding through his tube, but he just vomited it and didn’t gain weight,” explains Megan Roberts, mother of 10, Storm Morgan.

Sarah Mann chimes in: “When he was first born my milk took a while to get in so we supplemented with infant formula and even then he had lost too much weight.”

Mann and Roberts both gave birth to their now 10-month-old sons during the height of the baby food shortage, and their milk delivery didn’t come until a week after the cubs arrived.

Mann says: “Even before I was born I wasn’t sure if I could breastfeed, so we went out and bought baby formula. If I had known we could buy breast milk, we would have done that instead.”

Robert’s son Storm had a difficult start in life, suffering heart failure and spending over 70 days in the NICU.

When her milk supply ran out, she asked for help via Facebook: “The post was shared 2,000 times and we were able to get thousands of ounces for him.”

For new parents in their position, OSF Saint Francis Healthcare’s Breastfeeding Resource Center is opening a milk dispensary in partnership with the Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes.

“What this can offer the community is a place to buy donated, safe, pasteurized breast milk to supplement their milk supply. Pharmacies are for short-term emergencies,” explains Amber Barnes, RNC, IBCLC, WGL Milk Bank Clinical Director.

Families can come to the breastfeeding center where the milk is available for $20 for 4 ounces.

Someone can receive up to 10 bottles before requiring documentation from a healthcare provider to proceed with the purchase.

Donor milk is not intended as a long-term solution unless the family plans to do so. This really is for the short-term supplement for emergencies.

If the patient is looking for something long-term, we would refer them to the milk bank. They can work together to try to charge for insurance and have it shipped directly to them.

According to Jaymee Barra, OSF Saint Francis public relations communications coordinator, the milk bank and OSF are both not-for-profit businesses, both of which are unable to make a profit from the milk, so fees are kept as low as possible. Each bottle costs $18 from the milk bank. The remaining $2 covers shipping and handling, dry ice, etc.

There is also a Libra to help them on their journey.

Roberts says this pharmacy can give babies like Storm a healthy start in life.

“He was in the 4th percentile when he received the formula and now he’s in the 36th percentile for weight.”

For more information on obtaining or donating breast milk through Milk Bank WGL, visit their website at

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